Monday, May 9, 2011

Traveling Shoes

The road to the Working Dog Championships took me to Minnesota last weekend. My traveling shoes will soon need new soles! Sarah TenBensel stepped up to organize the weekend seminar with Greg Doud under the MVSV banner and did a terrific job.

It was almost the "trip that wasn't". I had planned to leave in the o-dark-thirty hours of Friday morning to make the approximately 5 hour trek to the Twin Cities, as I had work obligations the night before. Midway through training with the area police dogs I work with, I recalled that I needed more Easter Bunny. What, you say? That is code word for the frozen raw rabbit patties that I feed my dogs on the road. I advised I would be back in half an hour and scooted off to the pet store. Blocks from my return, something sounded odd. I turned down my full-volume tunes, and heard "clunk.. clunk.... spit"... and I had to muscle around the corner as the van shut down along with the power steering! I glanced at the needle inching to the red zone on the temperature gauge. damn. Exiting, I immediately observed that things smelled hot. double damn. I won't bore you with the mechanical details, but the result was that my vehicle remained in a parking lot in Appleton until it could be towed back to Black Creek the next morning for repairs.

In the meantime, I was not only worried I would miss my opportunity to tune up prior to the WDC, but that this might also impact my travel to the event! The good news was that the problem was a blown rear heater hose, which emptied the radiator. It was repaired and I hadn't pushed the issue far enough to cause permanent damage. I was able to arrive by evening and even got in a quick session.

If you travel to an event at the MVSV summer location, I heartily recommend the Microtel in Inver Grove Heights. I used to score my room at a reasonable price. They are a dog-friendly hotel. It is approximately about 10 minutes from the training field, has decent green space for pottying the dogs, a cereal/donut/fruit breakfast buffet, AND there is a gas station across the road and an Outback Steakhouse across the parking lot that you can wak to in one minute. Very convenient!

It was wonderful to see everyone again! There is so much fun in watching the progress of dogs and handlers I've watched in the sport, and reveling in their new partners. Two of Mike Scheiber's children stopped at out and watched as Angeli worked Mike's dog, Jett. I think everyone held their breath a moment to watch this new partnership being formed. Some of the dogs I have watched for years are getting older and doing light training or just riding along now, while the youngsters take their place. No problem. Some of us humans are running a little more slowly now, too! Being Northerners, we complained that the 75 degrees of Saturday was too hot (we actually sunburned!) and then complained that it was toooo cold on Sunday. Since it did rain, I feel that was justified, though it felt a little like the Three Bear's porridge; I wanted the day that was "just right!"

The training was "just right', though. And additional happiness was generated when I learned Greg is moving to the Chicago area at month's end to join Bridget Carlsen. We were fortunate to be able to watch Bridget train her Goldens When Donna Matey and Jill Fryling showed up, I thought we had somehow succeeded in luring them back from the dark side, but they were just there to borrow Bridget for a private lesson!

I was pleased with the training I was able to do with both Marco and Pre. For Marco, it was another road trip in what I expect will be many for him; learning to travel and to get out and work in new places. He has a wonderful, full grip and we worked on building stamina in those grips and ended with a few psuedo-long bites. I chuckle at those, as they currently lack the rocket-like, laser-focused commitment of the adults and instead he moves in a puppy gallop despite a very focused beginning. True, he is a gigantic puppy, but a puppy-dog nonetheless. His body is a few strides behind his mind at that point! For Pre, it was nice to be able to work through the pieces with a crowd present and in a few days I will head to Iowa for the WDC. I see we have a few competitors from our region who will be competing there. Good luck to all!